What is it?
Building” helps people from organisations with different cultures
and priorities work together. When you build good relationships
between the top people, then the work becomes more efficient and
Creative collaboration in
spite of differences can lead to both better and more enjoyable work.
You may discover better ways of doing things that neither would have
thought of separately. Enormous amounts of money energy can be wasted
by unnecessary confusion and conflict.
How do you do it?
Here is an example from my
The two organisations had
to work together. One was essentially a landlord. It was accountable
for spending and raising public money. It liked to have tight
contracts with rigid milestones and measures of progress. The other
was a profit making utility. It wanted to build plant and get it on
stream as quickly and efficiently as possible.
There were tensions. The
reality of constructing plant on the ground meant that the
predictions of the time scales required in the contract were often
wrong. It was tedious and painful for both parties to renegotiate the
contract every time a change was needed.
A manager in one of the
organisations, who knew the other, worked tirelessly to persuade nine
top people to meet for a day. My job was to facilitate the meeting. I
prepared for this by phoning everybody in advance and asking some
appreciative questions about their hopes and any concerns for the
workshop and the outcome. The questions are here.
This was very useful. It built mutual trust and understanding between
us and I knew what they wanted.
I started the event by
asking people to tell a story about a time they were happy. Everybody
talked about their families. One man was in near tears as he spoke
about his son. This simple exercise created a human connection
between the people that was much deeper than mere “work”. They
realised that the hassles they had at work were really unimportant.
After this, the workshop
followed typical Appreciative Inquiry lines. They looked at examples
of successful cooperation between the organisations and what made
these successful. Then they built a vision of how they would like
things to be in future, decided what needed to be done and started
producing practical plans. You can see the detailed design here.
What is the result?
I did a phone evaluation a
few weeks after the event using appreciative questions. The schedule
People observed they dealt better with potential areas of conflict.
They were more relaxed, engaged and thoughtful. They understood each
other and each other's organisations better.
I followed it up two years
later. Feedback: -
strategic alignment and building trust, a step in the right direction
not a leap of faith. Seeking long term joint value increased mutual
insight & understanding which enhanced the quality of subsequent
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